Boy moves to town. Boy meets girl. A falling out ensues.
It’s a typical 1950s love story, said Mark Murphy, who portrays the male lead role of Sid in Stage Crafters Community Theatre Inc.’s production of "The Pajama Game." Choosing a classic musical set in a Midwest pajama factory wasn’t a hard sell for director Chris LaPorta.
"Singing, dancing and romancing among conveyor belts and factory fixtures takes musical theater to a place not many imagined," LaPorta said. "I couldn’t resist."
Stage Crafters Community Theatre Inc. will present "The Pajama Game" at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and at 2:30 p.m. Sundays Nov. 8-10 and 15-17.
"The Pajama Game" isn’t just a love story.
The musical follows the workers at the Sleep Tite Pajama Factory as they demand a raise.
"The union’s demands are falling on deaf ears," according to the show press release. "Meanwhile, a romance is budding between Babe, the grievance committee head, and Sid, the new factory superintendent. Intrigue, romance, jealousy, misunderstandings and workplace shenanigans all add up to laughs, surprises and a lot of dancing."
The period costumes and set design are a large part of its appeal.
"The set design looks like the inside of a factory, an industrial factory," Murphy said. "The costume design team is being very particular about our clothing. There’s a lot of handmade costumes, a lot people have been able to find. They want us to stay within the style of the period."
LaPorta explained further.
"It’s the summer of 1953 at the Sleep Tite Pajama Factory in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, so think circle skirts, lunch pails, conveyor belts and lots of pajamas," LaPorta said.
The time period can also be a challenge.
"The challenge is some of the language people used back then," Murphy said. "People don’t speak the same way they do now – the colloquialisms. The sentence structure is a little bit different. I think people have simplified the way they say things now."
The music is crucial. It drives the story, Murphy said.
"The music isn't in there just for filler," Murphy said. "Everything is important all the way through it … People always like big stage numbers, too."
Murphy’s favorite song is "I'm Not At All in Love," which the character Babe sings. It’s light and fun, he said.
"Jerry Ross and Richard Adler’s imaginative melodies and lyrics are entertaining because each one has its own unique style," LaPorta said. "Whether a fast and wacky tongue-twisting number, romantic ballad, folksy country duet or jazz dance number, the cast brings all that to life with strong characters and high-energy choreography."
The cast is composed of more than 20 people, and all the numbers are large, Murphy said.
This will mark Murphy’s most vocally heavy performance. Before joining Stage Crafters, he had little singing experience.
"When you're around so many talented singers and people who know a lot about music, it is intimidating for someone who doesn't have a real musical background," Murphy said. "I carry a tune well enough they let me up there."
The Stage Crafters members have taught him a lot.
"Not only just reading music, but also singing in groups," Murphy said. "They teach us harmony and everything else we need."
Participating in a Stage Crafters performance as a cast or crew member means anywhere from eight to 10 weeks of rehearsal, Murphy said. For directors, it can be up to a one-year commitment, he said.
It’s worth it.
"It's fun to perform and be surrounded by so many talented actors and singers," Murphy said. "It’s pretty inspirational when you’re around everybody and everybody working for a common goal."
LaPorta shares this feeling of camaraderie.
"My favorite aspect is that, as with every show that Stage Crafters produces, the commitment and creativity of our all-volunteer casts and crews in bringing quality theater to Fort Walton Beach on a budget that comes strictly from ticket sales and donations," LaPorta said. "Putting this huge, beautiful ‘Pajama Game’ puzzle together with my theater family is the best part of it all."
LaPorta thinks the community will enjoy this musical.
"It’s both sexy and silly; a show that everyone young and old will adore," LaPorta said. "Secondly, and just as important, this show is a perfect example of superb local talent from right here on the Emerald Coast. There is nothing like the energy and excitement of live theater."